If scheduled reforms to the National Flood Insurance Program kick in October 1st, real estate values may react, which will become an issue for Pinellas Property Appraiser Pam Dubov.
"Our property values are to reflect market value, and market values in low-lying areas are now going to be affected by something that has never been an issue before," Dubov said Wednesday.
That explains a map she had her staff prepare, showing an estimated 32,000 single-family residences that may be impacted by much higher flood insurance premiums -- contrary to first impressions,
"There are many, many affected parcels that are inland," Dubov pointed out. "There's parcels that are in Pinellas Park, St. Petersburg, Kenneth City, that are very far off the waterfront, but they happen to be low-lying areas. This is not a beach problem."
By her count 15,016 -- or nearly half of the houses are inside St. Petersburg's city limits. That represents 22 percent of St. Petersburg's housing stock.
In other towns, the numbers are lower, but the percentage of impacted properties is much higher. For example, 86 percent of South Pasadena's houses, 83 percent of Madeira Beach's and 80 percent of Redington Beach's single family residences may be subject to the new flood insurance rates.
Congress required risk-rated premiums in 2012 when it renewed the National Flood Insurance Program. Pinellas is possibly the hardest-hit county in the nation because many of its houses were built before flood risk maps were first published in 1974.
Those homes were provided flood insurance at a steep discount, and the favorable, subsidized rates have been grandfathered for decades.
The flood insurance reforms require 20 percent annual increases until risk-rate is achieved for policy holders who stay in their homes.
Buyers of those homes who take out a mortgage are required to pay the full risk-rate. Depending on elevation, premiums could cost $10,000 or more.
Dubov predicts that will impact re-sale values.
"Their ability to sell will be contingent upon a buyer's ability to pay a much higher premium," she said.
Dubov sent us the map, along with this e-mail:
"Please find attached our initial map of single family homes that are Pre-FIRM (built prior to adoption of the Flood Insurance Rate Map) in Pinellas County along with a spreadsheet that totals the parcels by city.
Please note that these counts may include homes that are elevated above the base flood elevation for their zone. We will not know accurate living elevations for certain until we obtain Certificates of Elevation or parcel specific elevations from outside sources. This data was prepared to assist us in identifying the affected areas for the public and our local jurisdictions.
We did not compile this map to identify individual parcels because we do not want home owners to rely on our map which combines FEMA and Property Appraiser map layers which do not always align perfectly. Property owners should rely on FEMA to find out their correct flood zone because it is FEMA's determination that will affect premiums."
Pinellas Flood Zones:
Parcel counts in flood zones:
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